Zenainder wrote:2) How is "the person experiencing the fruit of stream-entry" defined in the sutras? How is "fruit" defined?
All definitions are Conventions. You may want to let go of the ardent search for "Definitions".
And about that fruit, it must be tasted, experienced, directly "Known" before it can be "Understood". It cannot be defined. As soon as you label it with a definition, you have deceived. Limited the understanding of its scope. As soon as you define something, you create a new convention, that takes on a life all it's own, and may just become an evil being itself.
This is because when you read a definition of something, Especially one given by one who does not have direct experience of the "Fruit" you develop a preconceived notion in the mind. You "Create" a convention every time you try to define something. These are the very conventions that block the path to Stream Entry.
Let go of all the words.
Stream Entry is attained, NOT through algorithmic practices, but by opening up to the world around you.
For right Understanding, delve deeply into the things people say, and tear them all apart. Don't believe anything. Trust nothing. Not even yourself. Throw it all away. The science, the news broadcasts, everything in the books, just start throwing it all away. You're not trying to "Analytically" understand the world, but to "Open" up, to become more and more "Aware" of the way things truly are. To begin doing this, you must begin letting go of the way you are being "Told" they are. I could argue with you that all modern science is absolutely wrong, but who would believe me?
Right Intention is to cultivate a positive attitude toward the world. Listen to your heart when it tells you that you are doing something wrong. Listen to your heart when it tells you that you are doing something right. Throw away the lists and the books, and all the "Other" peoples ideas of what is "Right Intention". The answers are in your own heart already. They come pre-loaded. That is why we call it "True Nature". Practice, choosing wholesome acts over unwholesome acts. Practice at it. But to learn truly what is wholesome? What is unwholesome?
Is a cheeseburger and a six pack of beer an unwholesome act? Ah, it can be, can't it. But is it? I can NOT be as well. Stream entry is not blocked by cheeseburgers and six packs of beer. Stream entry is blocked by not understanding your relationship to these things, and the world around you.
In Right Speech, Right Livelihood, and Right Action, you are striving to improve yourself as a human being, to choose the decisions that cultivate compassion, love, and happiness in your heart. Do not perceive the eight fold path as an algorithmic way into enlightenment, or a "Hard coded" list. Perceiving the eightfold path in that way turns it into a convention, within itself. See it not as a list of 8 things, but a guideline on how to live a wholesome life, which IS the path toward enlightenment. To "Live more naturally", more "Harmoniously", more "Symbiotically". To develop a better and better understanding of who you are.
You're not trying to "Become" the Buddha. The very process of trying to "Become" something other than what is your own, personal, true nature, is an obstruction to the path.
It does not require being a monk to find enlightenment. I have it on very good authority. It is open to the painter, the writer, the sculptor, the singer, as well. It is open to those who listen to music, and even those who eat too much food. It is open to those who smoke, and drink, and even those who do drugs.
But, there are so many "Books", so many "Conventions" ABOUT what Stream Entry is, that few understand it. Few can experience it because you're always LOOKING for something. You're always trying to GET something. Most of you are trying to "Get the f*** out of here!!!!" by seeking exhalted states of extreme bliss and happiness.....and yet....
Those, even if you do find them, are in themselves impermanent.....
What is Happiness?
The Buddha understood Suffering, and the Path to Non-Suffering.
The Buddha, however, seems to have forgotten to put out the information on:
"Happiness, and the path away from Non-Happiness".
Don't trust what you have read. Let it all go. Begin again.
For Right Mindfulness, open up to your world. Begin to examine, investigate, observe, reflect. Mindfulness is NOT some specific thing you must do. You can be mindful walking to the store, doing the dishes, and playing with the dog. You can be mindful standing in line at the DMV, you can be mindful when listening to the radio (And it's fine to enjoy it as well). You can be mindful when surfing porn, and jerking off once you've found the right selection.
Ah, you might say, "But those mindfulness's aren't Buddhist! They won't get you to enlightenment!"
You're missing the point.
I'm going to give you all a very big hint:
If you can learn what it is to be mindful while jerking off, the path will open. If you take offense to that statement, or think I'm joking, you will remain locked in Ignorance.
For Right concentration, well, don't worry so much about Jhana. It's certainly not required for Enlightenment, and the Buddha may have spoken just a little bit too highly about it, anyway.... Keep the mind pointed. When it wanders off on silly things, bring it home. Find those desires deep down in your heart, and put the mind to those tasks.
And when doing dishes, be mindful. Clean them well. Keep the mind on the task of doing dishes. Dishes. Dishes. Dishes. If the cat meows, go ahead, shift to the cat. What does it want? Be mindful of the cat. Concentrate on it for some time. See what the cat is saying. Is the cat saying something? When the stomach growls, switch to the growl. What's that there? Stay with it a moment. Just a moment is fine. Don't try to penetrate it until you have burned a hole into your intestines from the power of your gaze. What is a stomach growling for anyway? Then, back to the dishes. Dishes. Dishes. Dishes.
The world is an illusion.
And you live surrounded by a grand deception.
STOP paying attention to it so damn much, so you can START paying attention to it.